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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Composer Dario Vero Interview #2
by Richard Jack Smith

I consider Dario Vero to be one of the most imaginative, creative and seminal composers working today. Where others merely imitate or self reference, Vero has developed his own personal signature. From listening to his work on The Stolen Princess and The Inglorious Serfs, such artistic and emotional intentions are well conveyed.

The best music can allow the listener to imagine other times, worlds and cultures. Yet the level of immersion caused by Vero’s soundtracks holds another clue to his methods. By telling stories through music, he pushes the boundaries of expression.

In the following interview, Dario Vero spoke about his influences and his recent work on the film The Inglorious Serfs.

Which composers have influenced you?

Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Antonio Vivaldi, Johannes Brahms, Igor Stravinsky but also, of course, John Williams, Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith, Angelo Badalamenti, Joe Kraemer and Mychael Danna. On the other hand, I spent a lot of time listening to rock band and composers like Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Led Zeppelin, Sheryl Crow, Michael Jackson and so on…

How do you create themes? Do you watch the film first or read the script?

Generally speaking, I would say that it’s more productive to follow a creative workflow that is directly connected with the story. The story is something intangible, liquid and completely imaginary like music! So I prefer to compose reading the script, rather then watching the movie. I create all the main themes reading the script at first, and then I bend and adapt the themes on the picture and on the images of the movie.

At what stage were you involved in composing the score for The Inglorious Serfs?

I had the script… I read it… And I was very surprised! What a fresh script! So I said “YES!”… I started with all the themes and with some “filler” material in order to create the right atmosphere and a library of themes and ideas. Then I had 5 weeks to finalize everything. I received the whole movie with everything but CGI, after 1 week. So I spent about 1 week composing and then 4 weeks orchestrating and adapting the music on the movie.

Roughly how much time did you spend on the project?

On The Inglorious Serfs, I had 5 weeks only. But it depends on the project. If there’s enough time, I always love to compose without any pressure. This also depends on project and budget. I would say approximately up to 8/10 weeks for a movie, 3 months for a TV series, approximately 3 months for an animated featured film and 4 months for a video game.

The music was recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic, is that correct?

Correct. I did everything during the pandemic. So it was very tricky to organize everything, all of my business trips and the recordings after March 2019. Thank God for Zoom and Skype and all this kind of technology, it helped us a lot, so it was easier to manage some sessions via the Internet.

Did you play guitar on this score?

Yes! I played all the guitars on this ost (original soundtrack). It was amazing. I had the chance to do everything I like. Composing, playing the guitar, conducting. It was a lot of fun!

What size orchestra did you use?

A huge symphonic European orchestra, a Japanese team of musicians and Tina Guo from the U.S.

Tina Guo performed on cello and erhu. Were there any other soloists on The Inglorious Serfs?

If we talk about special guests and soloists I would say she was the only one. I was supposed to have 3 other guests… but Covid changed almost all of my plans.

Are there any current or future projects you can tell us about?

I’m actually working on a huge project with the same producer from The Stolen Princess. It’s called Mavka, and it’s fantastic! In late February, we will release a new teaser with some amazing music that I’m actually working on. I also have other projects both with the producer of The Inglorious Serfs and with the director on a different thing. I’m also scoring a couple of TV series. In 2021, there’s a live action/fantasy movie called “Maksym Osa” and I’ll release that soundtrack on all the digital stores.

Here's a link to my video review of The Inglorious Serfs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4LGGOTsydM

The Inglorious Serfs was chosen as my favourite film score of 2020:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0--Z7equLw 

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